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Rogers adds 'data sharing' plans, will carry both WiFi and cellular versions of BlackBerry PlayBook

Chris Ziegler

With the precedent the Galaxy Tab has set, it was an open question whether carriers would embrace the WiFi version of RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook -- after all, it's a little harder to fully monetize a data plan on a device that lacks its own cellular modem. Thing is, the WiFi version is the first one that's going to be available; RIM hasn't given much guidance yet on when the cellular version will follow on -- and RIM doesn't have much of a distribution channel outside its carrier partners. Well, Rogers has thrown its hat in the ring today at its TabLife event in Toronto, where it has been chatting up the success of the tablets it's sold so far (the Tabs apparently won't stay on shelves) and noting that it will be carrying both versions of the PlayBook as they become available.

How's that going to work from a data perspective? Well, a concurrent announcement out of Rogers seems to hold the answer. A pair of new so-called "data sharing plans" can be tacked onto your existing smartphone plan, effectively opening up your data bucket to other devices -- so it's basically like the tethering plans we've started to see sprout up on American networks under a different name. One oddity, though, is the CAD $20 (roughly $20) data sharing plan that allows unlimited social networking on "popular sites" above and beyond your normal bucket of gigabytes -- sounds silly, but when we think about what percentage of our mobile time is spent on Twitter and Facebook, it might just be crazy enough to work. Follow the break for Rogers' press release and a quick clip of Rogers exec John Boynton with the PlayBook mention.

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Rogers Declares Tablets "Dashboards of Tomorrow" at Rogers TabLife TO

Company announces data sharing plans, Rogers On Demand Online for tablets and remote PVR at Rogers TabLife TO

TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Rogers Communications Inc. today unveiled the company's vision for tablet and mini tablet devices. Anchored by growing customer demand to be connected on multiple devices any time, any place, Rogers announced three new initiatives including new data sharing plans, the upcoming launch of Rogers On Demand Online for tablets and plans to introduce remote PVR capabilities on tablets and smartphones for its Rogers Digital Cable customers.

"The tablet is the command centre - a mobile hub through which our customers will be able to access everything in their world - from reading email for work to looking at photos, programming their televisions to turning on lights at home, checking on friends on Facebook and even updating their personal finances," says John Boynton, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Rogers Communications. "Our role is to enable these experiences seamlessly and reliably across all devices. Our announcement today reflects our commitment to ensuring we continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers."

Rogers also unveiled the results of a recent poll of tablet and non-tablet owners, conducted by the Strategic Counsel. Close to 60 per cent of those surveyed who currently do not own a tablet agree that tablets will transform the way we live, work and play, and 42 per cent say they plan to purchase a tablet within the next year. Of those surveyed who have already purchased a tablet, the vast majority (69 per cent) claim they take their tablet everywhere they go and 58 per cent state their tablet is typically the first device they turn on in the morning.

"What we are seeing is a shift from one device to many devices connected together, anytime, anyplace," Boynton continues. "The tablet is the dashboard for the highways of tomorrow, where people can easily access the same personalized experiences at work, in the home or on the go. We will provide the best tablet selection, integrate Rogers content on devices and build new pricing structures to make it easy for customers to make tablets part of their work, home and personal lives."

Boynton made the remarks in a keynote speech at Rogers TabLife TO, an event Rogers organized to showcase the way tablets are changing the way we live work and play. The event brought industry leaders, manufacturers and experts to share experiences with tablets in communications, healthcare, business, media and entertainment. More information on Rogers TabLife TO conference can be found at

A tablet-optimized version of Rogers On Demand Online will feature hours of primetime TV, movies, sports, music and will adapt perfectly to a variety of tablet screen sizes and operating systems. In 2011, customers will be able to go online on any tablet free of charge¹ to access Rogers On Demand as well as Rogers' new Remote PVR service to set and manage recordings from any tablet, and smartphone anywhere, anytime.

Rogers also announced new data sharing plans that enable customers to seamlessly and easily share data from one plan across multiple devices. With these new plans, customers can take their existing plans and apply a data sharing add-on for as low as an additional $15 per month.²

Tablets are also transforming the way businesses access and share information. In fact, survey data from Strategic Counsel shows that six in 10 Canadian tablet owners are using their tablets for occasional or regular work. According to forecasts from Deloitte, in 2011, 25% of all tablets sold will be bought by enterprises or bought by employees and paid for by enterprises.

"Tablets present new and unique possibilities that can deliver real value for businesses," Boynton adds. "We expect to see a fast acceleration in the number of businesses looking to tablets as critical mobile productivity drivers. We will work with our business customers to provide them with the service, plans and reliability they expect from us."

Rogers On Demand Online and Remote PVR for tablets will be available in early 2011. More information on Rogers data sharing plans can be found at

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